How to make beer cheese dip for veggies.
Beer Cheese Basics
Thousands of pages and entire books have been written about pairing beer and cheese. About the amazing interaction between beer’s carbonation and bitterness and the fatty coating cheese leaves on the tongue. About the flavors in each complementing or contrasting each other, creating veritable explosions of taste in one’s mouth.
We agree – craft beer and cheese are so good together that it is actually hard to find a bad way to pair them. Unless of course you go with a flavorless mass produced, corn syrup loaded lager and an equally blunt processed cheese. Ugh! Don’t do it!
When it comes to melting cheese in beer, we frequently use cow’s milk Gouda or Gruyere. For this beer cheese dip we didn’t deviate from our ‘go to’ cheese.
Chris chose Kannah Creek Brewing Co. Vertical Drop Robust Red Ale for the beer component. It has very pronounced dark toast flavor and malt sweetness and is very well balanced, without excessive bitterness (ABV 6.2%, IBU 40). Perfect to blend with our Gouda.
Even though melting cheese in a liquid is pretty much a no brainer in terms of required steps, we have found that some Gouda style cheeses melt better than others.
On a broader scale there are cheeses that are just not melting type cheeses, so no matter how well they pair with a certain craft beer style, they refuse to become cheese sauce.
There are also certain things you could inadvertently do while whisking your beer and cheese that may cause them to act as if they dislike each other, not giving you what you want. Think a bunch of tight, protein lumps swimming in a thin (even though tasty), whey looking liquid.
In order to avoid such outcome, be sure to:
- shred the cheese and toss it in flour (this will improve the quality of the melting process)
- do not add cheese to liquid that is scolding hot
- add the cheese slowly, in batches
Gouda needs very mild heat to begin melting so Chris cooled off the simmering liquid containing the beer a little and slowly added the cheese. We’ve actually had better results with a six month aged Gouda imported from the Netherlands (still considered young in terms of ageing) which comes in a yellow wax, so if you see it, we recommend it over the red wax one. Smoked Gouda is excellent for making beer cheese dip.
How to Fix Your Beer Cheese Dip if it Breaks
Suppose you did everything right. You coated your room temperature cheese in flour or corn starch and you added it in batches to the beer base that was not too hot… And then it broke.
This is what you should do to fix it.
Take out your trusty hand held immersion blender and put it to work. Alternatively, transfer the broken beer cheese dip into a blender and pulse it on low until the lumps of cheese appear to be more or less incorporated back into the liquid.
Strain (through a sieve) and transfer the mixture back into a sauce pan. Add about 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream to it. Heat it up on low and stir until the mixture becomes nice and silky. If it appears to be too thin, mix a slurry (1 tbsp corn starch + 1 tbsp cold water) and slowly add it to the beer cheese as you keep stirring. This should thicken it.
- 3 cups shredded cheese, choose a good melting cheese like Gouda, Gruyere, Fontina, Cheddar, Emmentaler
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp flour
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 12 oz craft beer, choose a flavorful, low bitterness ale or lager
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- Shred the cheese and bring it to room temperature. Toss in the 1/4 flour making sure it is well coated and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Stir in the 2 tbsp of flour to form a roux.
- Slowly add the beer while stirring to incorporate.
- Remove from heat, add the cream and stir. Let the mixture cool off. You must be patient at this step - adding cheese to a hot liquid base will cause the cheese to clump. If you can touch the liquid base with your finger and it feels very warm, but does not burn your finger, the mixture has cooled off sufficiently.
- Gradually, in small portions, add the corn starch (or flour) coated cheese, stirring gently and slowly with a whisk or fork until all the cheese is incorporated.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 6 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 233Saturated Fat: 9.1gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 74mgCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 10.5g